[ The important fitness check-in: This is a workout for folks who are already experimenting or running hills/speed work consistently. If you’re new to hills and/or speed, you might want to work on one or the other first and gradually build up. And, you will still get a great workout if you do this one not at an all-out level. Most of all, listen to your body. ]
Ok, so we all know Runner and Momma put together means one busy chica. I am lucky to get in 5 runs a week, but sometimes the clock runs out, the kids freak out, the hubby goes out or MY lights go out before I can get a run in. When that happens, I grab my inner gumption and opt for a combo hill and speed workout. It’s about quality and power and panting and heaving and sweating and getting it DONE.
This isn’t about speedy hill repeats, it’s about doing hills for the first half of your run, speed the second. If given the choice, I would pick speed workouts over hills any day. For me, there is something about pushing my envelop till I’ve crossed the line from having that “Chi Running lean” to having that “almost falling over lean” that works much better for me than the lung-less drudgery of hill work.
But enough about my process, here’s the workout. Because it’s usually a time-crunch thing, I do this in 30-40 minutes. If you have longer than that, go a bit slower and stretch the hill time a bit, but try to keep up your speed up for the second part of the workout.
1. 8-10 minutes of warm-up. I usually do this on a very gradual uphill to get things cookin’ right off, but at a slow pace.
2. Hit the hills. And I mean some steep ones. You know, the ones that make you think, “Hell, I could walk up this faster than run it.” Well, maybe not THAT steep, but some good huffers. Do repeats or steep rollers for 15 minutes.
3. Run the downhills, but take it easy on the way down and keep your upper body under control so you conserve energy.
4. Once you’ve chugged away for 10-20 minutes, you’ll be loving the flat ride home. Find a place you can cruise with a good straight-away.
5. Next, pick it up to a pleasantly uncomfortable pace (10K pace or 5K if you can swing it) and do at least 1 mile to 2 miles.
6. Cool down with an easy shuffle or walk till you’re no longer wheezing.
You’ll need an extra snack in the afternoon, hence the name Power (bar) Workout.
What’s your favorite? Hills, speed, distance, all of the above? Got any time-crunch workouts to share?